05/23/2002 12:00AM

Route will have to wait for Mandy


At some point, trainer Michael Gorham would like to find out if Mandy's Gold can stretch out to handle two turns. For now, however, Gorham is content to keep her sprinting.

Gorham, who considered taking Mandy's Gold to Maryland for last week's Grade 3 Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff at 1 1/16 miles, has instead entered the 4-year-old multiple stakes winner in Saturday's $75,000 My Juliet Handicap, the first stakes of the season at Philadelphia Park, in Bensalem, Pa.

The one time Mandy's Gold raced beyond seven furlongs came in April 2001, when she led wire to wire in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct, a one-turn race at a mile.

"She won, but she was taken down," Gorham said. "Eventually I would like to stretch her out to see if she can get two turns. Sometimes those races aren't as grueling because [the horses] don't have to run as fast and the competition is a little lighter in those spots."

Gorham never got a chance to give Mandy's Gold a second shot at a route after the Comely. She pulled a muscle in her rear end and ended up on the sidelines for nine months.

"We had a little trouble getting her back because she pulled her muscle back there again once we got her back in training," Gorham said. "She's fine now."

Although she's 0 for 4 this year, Mandy's Gold is coming off a good effort, finishing second by a neck after a race-long duel in an optional claimer at Delaware Park earlier this month. The 86 Beyer Speed Figure she earned in that race and the 96 she posted when third in the Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park in March compare well with the figures of the 10 rivals Mandy's Gold will face in the six-furlong My Juliet.

The chief challenger to Mandy's Gold should be front-runner Arianna's Passion, who is 2 for 3 this year and has been first or second in 12 of 16 lifetime starts. In her most recent race, at Pimlico, Arianna's Passion surrendered a four-length lead in the final furlong, but still earned a career-best 97 Beyer.

Seasonal Change, trained by Scott Lake, is a five-time winner in seven starts this year and finished just three-quarters of a length behind Mandy's Gold last time out.

Silent Seranade, a 6-year-old mare who does her best running when on the lead, comes off a sharp stakes score at Monmouth in which she earned a career-best 90 Beyer.

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